Regulators Ask Banks To Not Be Jerks To Customers Affected By Shutdown

The shutdown of the federal government is now a week old, meaning a growing number of furloughed workers — and employees of businesses whose income depends on government contracts — are having trouble keeping up with their bills. In a joint statement today, five regulators have asked banks and other financial institutions to be mindful of customers who are directly impacted by the current staring contest.

“Prudent workout arrangements that are consistent with safe-and-sound lending practices are generally in the long-term best interest of the financial institution, the borrower, and the economy,” reads the statement from the Federal Reserve System, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the FDIC, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

“Affected borrowers may face a temporary hardship in making payments on debts such as mortgages, student loans, car loans, credit cards, and other debt,” the statement continues. “The agencies encourage financial institutions to consider prudent workout arrangements that increase the potential for creditworthy borrowers to meet their obligations.”

Likewise, the regulators explain that banks who make efforts to modify terms on existing loans for affected borrowers “should not be subject to examiner criticism.”

The agencies say that anyone who is feeling the financial impact of the shutdown should notify their lenders immediately.